Florida Football: Depth at Safety Major Concern for the Gators

McLeod NealeAnalyst IJuly 13, 2008

A couple of months ago, if you had asked Urban Meyer what he thought about the safeties, he probably would have told you it that it is one of the positions with the most depth on the Gator roster.

In just a matter of two months, a strength has turned into a weakness for the Gators.  Here is how it happened.

1. Last year the Gators had so much depth at safety that they decided to move Jeremy Finch, the top football player out of the state of Indiana, to outside linebacker.  Finch decided this offseason that he wanted to go home for family reasons.  He is now attending the University of Indiana and will be playing football there in the fall.

Jeremy Finch was expected to make the move back to safety this offseason for the Gators prior to the news that he would part ways with the Gators.

2. Two months ago Jamar Hornsby was kicked off the team because he was using a dead girl's credit card to get free gas.

3. Dee Finley, a senior at Auburn High School last year and one of the most highly touted safeties in the country, did not make it in academically.  He will attend prep school and hopes to be attending Florida by January or May.

4. Urban Meyer announced on Saturday that junior Dorian Munroe and walk-on senior John Curtis both suffered ACL injuries.  Dorian Munroe's right knee will undergo season-ending surgery.  John Curtis' injury is season-ending; even worse, it could be career-threatening.


The Gators have four scholarship safeties on the roster that would be able to play at the moment: Major Wright (So, 6'0", 200); Ahmad Black (So, 5'9", 185); Bryan Thomas (So, 6'1", 197); and Will Hill (Fr, 6'3", 210).

Major Wright has All-American potential at free safety, while Dorian Monroe was slated to take over strong safety from Tony Joiner, who graduated this past year.

Will Hill is a highly-touted recruit from New Jersey.  There were multiple positions where Hill was an All-American talent coming out of high school, but most tabbed him as a safety.  His dream has been to play side by side with Major Wright, so it looks like he will get his chance to prove himself.

Ahmad Black played cornerback as a true freshman last year, but he made the move to safety this spring.  Black supposedly had a great spring at the position.  Bryan Thomas has been recovering from an injury that he sustained during the 2006 season.

The Gators are likely to move someone to add depth at the safety position.  The rumor is that the Gators will move Cade Holliday, son of former Florida assistant Doc Holliday, who is now at WVU.

Another possible scenario would be to move a corner with the size to play safety, like Moses Jenkins (So, 6'3", 180), from corner to safety.  Also, Riley Cooper may end up being able to make the switch from WR to safety because he played safety in high school.